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The 17 Best Specialty Coffee in Budapest, Winter 2019

The fetishization of craft coffee has reached Budapest too. Plenty of new-wave, specialty cafés have opened where tattooed-and-bearded baristas throw around buzzwords like "single origin" and "small batch" as they prepare pricey cups of pour-overs. Looking at it differently, there are now plenty of places in Budapest where you can drink excellent coffee.

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#1 Espresso Embassy Budapest

Espresso Embassy is a paradise on earth for specialty coffee fans in Budapest. This lively, downtown café inside the city's financial district makes hand pourovers with a Hario V60, espresso-based drinks with a fancy Victoria Arduino machine, and a range of tasty cakes from organic ingredients you've likely never heard of. .
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#2 Dorado Café

Like many other cities, Budapest is swarming with specialty coffee shops. You know - tattooed baristas, minimalist interiors, and pricey pourovers. Does the city need more new-wave cafés? The answer is not obvious to me, but if it’s a “yes," then more of them should be like Dorado Café. This 2018 newcomer is located on the rapidly gentrifying Klauzál Street inside the old Jewish Quarter.
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#3 Kelet Café

Some pockets of Buda can be as lively as Pest, but they're few and far between. The area around Bartók Béla Boulevard is one such revitalized Buda neighborhood, featuring art galleries, cafés, and bars. Kelet, an all-purpose, all-day café, was one of the early birds here, and has helped breathe new life into the street..
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#4 Madal Cafe

Madal is a rightfully popular specialty coffee chain in Budapest. The company operates two additional locations in Budapest, and while the one near the Parliament building is bigger and has shorter wait times, this one, at Ferenciek tere, feels more intimate. .
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#5 Barako Káveház Budapest

It’s not easy to find specialty coffee shops on the Buda side, so when Barako, a closet-sized café, opened in 2014, it filled a void in Buda’s barely-existent craft coffee scene. The Filipino owner, Ryan Andres, eschewed the tourist-centric commercial areas of downtown Pest and set up shop here instead. .
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#6 Kontakt Budapest

It's worth visiting Kontakt simply for its location. This specialty coffee shop is nestled inside a charming, cobble-stoned courtyard of a downtown building. With a radically minimalist interior, a heavily bearded staff, and customers glued to their smartphones, Kontakt could easily be mistaken for a hip Brooklyn café. .
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#7 Printa Budapest

Printa was one of the first design stores in Budapest to figure out that selling high-quality coffee alongside Hungarian designer products can be a winning combination. Think limited edition prints, clothes, bags, and purses made by the local designers - no tchotchkes here. Being good at what they do, and being located in the center of the trendy Jewish Quarter, it was only a matter of time before tourists would discover it. Accordingly, today they mainly cater to visitors with somewhat inflated price tags.
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#8 Műterem Kávézó

Flaky almond croissants, fresh orange juice, and specialty coffee are just three of the reasons to visit this adorable café in the “Harlem of Budapest," a bit outside the city center in District 8. Kudos to the owner of Műterem Kávézó for walking the less trodden path and opening a specialty coffee shop in the slice of the city where no one has before. Rather than bringing a "downtown attitude" along with pour over coffee, Műterem feels open and welcoming to anyone. In fact, neighborhood residents can often be observed among the customers.
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#9 WARMCUP Budapest

At the turn of the 20th century, Budapest’s Grand Boulevard was teeming with coffeehouses. Penniless artists and locals of all backgrounds hung out in coffeehouses day and night, discussing politics, romance, and missed rent payments, while nursing precious cups of coffee. Cafés were the center of social life. Today, however, the area paints a gloomy picture - second hand clothing stores and uninviting gyro vendors swarm this once truly grand boulevard.
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#10 Mesterbike & coffee project

Mesterbike is a cute bike repair shop sharing a space with a specialty coffee shop. Unlike most new-wave coffee shops in Budapest that’re set along the downtown tourist paths, Mesterbike is located away from the city center on a residential street in Budapest’s up-and-coming District 9. Accordingly, most of the customers are neighborhood regulars who pop in for coffee, often accompanied by their bikes. .
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#11 Mantra Specialty Coffee Bar

Mantra is a specialty coffee shop located on a quaint downtown backstreet in Budapest. The street is lined with trees and wrought-iron street lamps. Ironically, it's just a block away from the tourist-heavy Váci Street. From the ever-changing light-roasted coffee beans Mantra might use Ethiopian, Brazilian, and Honduran selections on any given day for their filter and espresso-based coffees.
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#12 Blue Bird Cafe & Roastery (Rumbach Str.)

Never mind the uncanny resemblance to Blue Bottle Coffee, the pioneering California-based specialty coffee company, Blue Bird is one of Hungary’s leading coffee roasters and specialty coffee shops. It's located inside Budapest's hopping and increasingly tourist-heavy Jewish Quarter. .
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#13 My Little Melbourne & Brew Bar

When it opened in 2012, My Little Melbourne was one of the first specialty coffee shops in Budapest. A cult following quickly ensued, and My Little Melbourne has remained one of the most recognized coffee brands in Budapest (yes, notwithstanding the irony of it). It also helped business that they're located in the heart of Budapest's trendy and increasingly touristy Jewish Quarter..
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#14 Magvető Café

Magvető is a bookstore café located on a narrow side street in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter. It’s not so much their coffee, which is average at best, but the atmosphere that makes a visit here worthwhile. After all, who doesn’t like to be surrounded by walls of books? The place also features plenty of blond wood (made from compressed chips) that lends a cozy warmth to it. For the best experience, enjoy your drink from the elevated platform that overlooks the bookish crowd that likes to camp out here with their laptops.
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#15 Fekete Café

Escape the noisy downtown street and enter through the yellow ceramic tiles into the 19th century courtyard of Fekete Café. The marble well located in the center of the tranquil courtyard is one of those turn-of-the-20th-century Budapest surprises that hide behind many sooty facades. Weather permitting, enjoy your morning coffee in the open air courtyard..
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#16 My Green Cup

Újlipótváros, Budapest’s West Village, is the hopping scene for stylish locals. Accordingly, plenty of new-wave coffee shops line Pozsonyi Road, the main artery of the neighborhood. While you can’t go wrong with any of them, My Green Cup, part of the popular My Little Melbourne specialty coffee chain, stands out from the rest with a spacious interior and an outdoor terrace that opens in the summer months. .
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#17 The Goat Herder - Espresso Bar

What's this bustling café packed with foreign students doing in the sleepy, mostly working class part of the outer District 7? This is the question that will likely pop into your head as soon as you step inside The Goat Herder specialty coffee shop. The answer lies literally across the street, in the form of the stately buildings of The University of Veterinary Medicine, where most of the students hail from Western Europe. This means they don't think twice before ordering a pricey latte. Evidently, the owner of The Goat Herder is a business savvy operator for recognizing this market opportunity so far from the city center.
Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. The author visits all restaurants incognito.